Recently, Associated Press (AP) published an article the Reno paper ran with the headline, “Judge orders women to leave house.”
Last year, real estate investment group Wedgewood, Inc., bought an Oakland three-bedroom house in foreclosure for $501,000. In November, before Wedgewood could take legal possession, three homeless women and their children, calling themselves Moms 4 Housing, illegally moved in.
The squatters refuse to leave, so Wedgewood asked a California court to direct the local sheriff to evict them. The judge did so, giving them five days to leave.
An attorney helping them said, “We understand that the court’s hands are tied because in this country property fights are valued over human rights.”
One of the women, Dominque Walker, 34 and the mother of 1- and 5-year-old daughters, added, “Housing is a human right. I pay bills there. I pay water, PG&E, internet. We live there.”
So, if they claim housing is a human right, they have a right to seize someone’s property. And their lawyer posits a false distinction between sacred human rights and grubby property rights, and then falsely claims the courts value property rights over human rights.
Walker also said, “We want to purchase the home … it needs to belong back in the hands of the community.” And, “It was stolen through the foreclosure crisis.”
AP adds, the women say they moved into the house partly to protest the methods of speculators who snap up distressed homes and leave them empty despite the housing crisis. While Walker says “we” are the community and want to purchase the house, AP clarifies that they want Wedgewood to sell the property to a nonprofit land trust (that presumably would let them continue to live there).
But they moved in before Wedgewood could even take possession of the house. So, obviously Wedgewood isn’t the party that left the house empty. Lest one think perhaps the women merely chose the wrong house for their protest, Walker adds the ignorant and malicious lie that Wedgewood stole it.
Moving beyond technicalities, the real points here are the false distinction between human and property rights and the claim that property rights are wrongly favored. Plus the implication that wrapping oneself in the flag of human rights permits one to do anything and wrong anybody, especially corporations, to secure those human rights.
In this case, all one needs to do to justify seizures or other aggressive actions is claim to be a victim, even of mere misfortune, and allege the other party is culpable, even for doing reasonable and socially beneficial things like buying a house in foreclosure.
Asserting a “human right” to housing confers on someone an obligation to provide housing at that someone’s expense. That’s so obviously wrong and predatory that the kleptos and their ideologue supporters always demonize the real victims to make the theft or other aggressive action seem justified. Ergo, the lie that Wedgewood stole the house.
Perhaps the women come from a culture that taught them nothing of how the world really works: via invention, innovation, work, savings and investment, productivity, disruption and competition to get income by delivering value to employers, consumers and the public interest. And taught them nothing of the essential role of property rights in providing all human wellbeing.
Maybe in their experience things work via the kleptocracy of politics: asserted rights, demands, demonstrations, coercion, legislation, regulation, litigation, etc.
Thus, they wouldn’t know that the real causes of unaffordable housing and so many other California problems are the entitlements, land-use and related regulations, high taxes and transfer payments, green dogma, etc. fostered by the politics of them and their advocates.
But what’s the excuse for AP writers and editors and mainstream media generally?
They should recognize the slimy ethical and vacuous intellectual basis of these claims do not merit coverage. They should be researching and producing stories that educate more people on how the world really works and the problems caused by progressive policies.
But that’s too hard. Instead, because such stories are easy to produce, and because they want to signal their compassion and other virtues, they crank out advocacy dreck for such people.
And they whine when they’re rightly called the fake news.
Ron Knecht has served the people of Nevada as state controller, a higher education regent, economist, college teacher and legislator. Contact him at RonKnechtaool.com.
I try to be well informed on many public policy matters, but I pretend no great expertise on international relations and conflict. That said, some thoughts on those subjects in light of the current conflict in the Middle East.
As my daughter is learning in her government class, a fundamental duty of national governments is to protect their people from external threats. After World War I, some Republicans became isolationist, claiming we had little or no stake in many international affairs, and the Great War showed the costs and risks of getting involved.
They were certainly right about the costs and risks. If all recorded history had not been sufficient to teach us the horrors of war, the Great War certainly should have done so. The loss of human lives and damage to many survivors and their families, the destruction of cities and towns, of economies, infrastructure and cultures is on its face insane unless it is the only way to avoid even worse developments.
We did not get the worst of that war, although we got plenty. But Europeans who fought it from start to finish and on their own grounds should have learned because they did. Nonetheless, they had little choice but to fight World War II because the aggressive evil of racist German National Socialism and Italian fascism attacked them viciously, leaving no alternative.
The isolationists thought we could stay out of that war because we had oceans between us and it. Some folks believed then and now that if we’re peaceful, non-interventionist and amicable with other countries, they’ll respond in kind. These views were definitively shattered by the murderous, racist, aggressive Japanese militarism in Asia and then Pearl Harbor.
Two things were clear after WWII. First, there are significant numbers of evil people and ideas in the world and they sometimes control the means to wreak great destruction. So, we must be ready to fight and defeat them.
Second, mountains and oceans are no longer significant barriers behind which to hide. Moreover, there is a compelling positive reason to actively engage with other nations: the huge economic and cultural benefits we get from trade and international relations.
So, we need to maintain a substantial, ready national defense.
The expansionist, totalitarian and murderous evils of Soviet, Korean, Cuban and Chinese communism proved such malign forces were not wiped out in two world wars. It seems there’s always another one waiting around the corner.
However, with the end of the world wars and the rise of communism following hard on, engaging in war and preparation for it became normal. Indeed, as President Eisenhower warned, a military-industrial complex had grown from these circumstances and now had an interest in arms production and fomenting conflict. The MIC is still as powerful, influential and pernicious as ever.
One important lesson of the fall of the Soviet empire is that evil doctrines, if contained, will fail from their own evil. Thus, the implosion of the Soviet Union because it could not compete with democratic market liberalism. (For a while, China took a capitalist road, but returned to ruthless authoritarianism.)
Some academics proclaimed this triumph brought the end of history. They forgot there are always new evil doctrines.
In the last half century, Islamofascism has metastasized because it originated in the Mideast, where the unearned endowment of oil and gas riches, shared by the Saudis with Islamofascists as a defensive measure, allowed it. Islamofascism is evil because it is in its essence hostile to individual liberty and markets. And because it views terrorism as a legitimate element of war.
President Bush 43 erred in embracing nation building as a counter-measure. President Obama’s sick apology tours and pallets of billions in cash delivered to Iran were simply insane, pernicious and anti-American.
President Trump got things right in promising to stop the endless wars where we have no real interests at stake. That means most of the Middle East, not including Israel. His surgical strike to kill Major General Soleimani was an ideal response to Iran, especially after foregoing drone strikes.
Now he must find a way to end most of our involvement there and bring most troops home while proportionately parrying Iran’s counterstrikes.
Ron Knecht has served Nevada as state controller, a higher education regent, economist, college teacher and legislator. Contact him at RonKnecht@aol.com.